I'm new to this forum - and really glad I've found it. I hope you don't mind that my first post has lots of questions (which may be obvious/silly).
Really brief history - had moderate asthma since childhood, which hasn't really affected my daily life too much except when I've had chest infections - I've always been very active, exercise several times a week and occasionally do the odd stupid thing like climbing mountains for charity... Have always been on preventer and reliever inhalers (and pred when chest infections have caused probs) and only hospitalised once as a teenager.
I really thought it was controlled and pretty much got on with things without thinking about it too much (but aware of triggers etc, esp. during the pollen season).
However, two weeks ago, I noticed I was getting more breathless and didn't know why so went to see my GP and had my preventer meds (Qvar) increased - but it continued to get worse, so I was changed to Symbicort 400/12. Then on Monday I needed an emergency appointment with the GP as I was really struggling - I was given a neb there and put on pred 40mg/day - but this wasn't fast acting enough and I was hospitalised that evening with a pf of 150 (normally 500) and rapidly depleting blood/oxygen levels - to say I was scared would be an understatement, especially when they talked about ICU and ventilating me - thankfully on IV steroids/salb and neb on oxygen I made enough of a recovery for this not to be necessary, but things haven't been right since, I'm not responding to the pred (this is day 4) and I'm constantly breathless. I have a doc appointment tomorrow to review where things are, but the GP is already talking about the likely need for hospitalisation so I can have stronger drugs and I'm very scared.
Sorry for the not so brief history, but I thought it might help contextualise my questions:
1. The GP has recently referred to my asthma with the words 'severe' and 'acute' - what do these actually mean in terms of severity (is there some scale?) and more importantly what do they mean for me and my treatment?
2. If it is decided tomorrow that hospital is the only option (and my pf currently isn't looking good) what is this likely to involve?
3. Will this 'level' of difficulty be temporary?
4. How can I find out what has caused this - this I think is part of the problem the docs are having - neither they or I can identify the trigger (nothing's changed and my normal triggers aren't responsible) - is it always possible to find the cause and how do you cope long term without knowing - that's what scares me a lot, because if I don't know, I can't avoid it.
5. (Possibly stupid question - sorry!) - How often and how should you wash a spacer and a pf meter? I've read the instructions but I'm using them so often at the moment (several times a day) I'm concerned that as they need to drip-dry they may still be wet when I need them... And do you use any sterilising fluid (I'm a bit of a clean-freak )?
Sorry for all these questions in a first post, and thanks in advance for any help you can give me with any of them.